What to do in Ninh Binh?
This article covers the best things to do in Ninh Binh with tips to enjoy the best of your trip to this beautiful area.
Things to do in Ninh Binh Vietnam
1. Catch the sunlight at Mua Cave
Mua Cave, or Hang Múa, is an exciting place to visit in Ninh Binh, thanks to its magnificent scenery.
Mua Cave is located at the foot of the Mountain Mua, which has a shape of a large upside bell.
From the bottom of the mountain, you can see the white stone steps leading to the top, and the sides of the stairs have ornamental lines with a dragon or phoenix carved on them stone.
Visiting Mua Cave, you can challenge yourself to climb 486 stone steps to the top of the mountain. From here, visitors will have a magnificent view of the Tam Coc area and rice fields.
As Mua Cave is only 6 km from Ninh Binh city center, you can easily catch a taxi or motor taxi from your hotel.
Read more: Mua Cave travel guide.
2. Visit Trang An landscape complex
Dubbed Ha Long Bay on land, Trang An landscape complex is a popular tourist attraction in Ninh Binh.
Trang An has a great cultural value with stunning natural scenery created harmoniously by limestone karst, rivers, and caves.
Visiting Trang An, you can take a boat trip to explore nature and different temples.
Trang An’s boat ride ticket is 200 000 VND per person, and the journey usually takes 3 hours.
If you have a short time, I recommend visiting Trang An and Bai Dinh as a day tour from Hanoi. Both destinations are near each other, and they are both fantastic landmarks.
3. Take a boat ride exploring Tam Coc Bich Dong
Nowadays, Tam Coc – Bich Dong is one of the few places still retaining pristine nature with the beauty of the wild countryside.
About Tam Coc Boat Ride
The end of April and the beginning of May is considered the most beautiful season to visit Tam Coc – Bich Dong.
What is more enjoyable than leisurely taking a Tam Coc Boat ride and watching the golden rice fields on the riverside?
The journey to Tam Coc starts from Đình Các boat terminal, where the boat riders take travelers along the winding Ngô Đồng River with golden rice fields on both sides.
You will visit three caves, namely Hang Cả, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba.
About Bich Dong Pagoda
After visiting Tam Coc, you can get to Bich Dong Pagoda, an ancient pagoda attached to the mountain about 2 km from Tam Coc wharf.
Situated on Ngu Nhac Mountain, Bich Dong Pagoda was built on the mountainside and divided into three levels: Lower Pagoda, Middle Pagoda, and Upper Pagoda. You can also have a beautiful view of Hoang Long River and Trang Thi field nearby.
4. Travel back in time to Hoa Lu Ancient Imperial
With a history of more than 1000 years, this place has experienced many ups and downs and preserved historical relics through the ages.
Hoa Lu retains its historical traces despite the ups and downs of time. You can even see the sturdy walls and two temples worshiping Dinh Tien Hoang King and Le Dai Hanh King.
Tips: If you would like to participate and experience the busy atmosphere of the festivals, you should come to Hoa Lu during the springtime.
Read more: A complete guide to Hoa Lu ancient capital.
5. Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda
Known as the largest pagoda complex in Vietnam, Bai Dinh Pagoda is a famous place in Ninh Binh. The pagoda is located west of Hoa Lu ancient capital, about 15 km from Ninh Binh.
Bai Dinh Pagoda combines an ancient and new pagoda complex built in 2003.
Tips for visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda
Although it’s free to visit Bai Dinh pagoda, you should take an electric car from the gate to the pagoda as the distance is quite far away. The car ticket costs 30 000 VND. (~$1.5)
I love the view from the pagoda. On my trip there, I visited the ancient pagoda first and then the new one. However, if you don’t have much time, you can choose one and take an electric car there.
Read more: Guide to Bai Dinh pagoda.
6. Visit Phat Diem Cathedral
If you’re looking for a combination of Eastern and Western architecture, head to Phat Diem Cathedral!
Located about 28km south of Ninh Binh city, Phat Diem Cathedral is a 120-year-old church built entirely of stone and ironwood.
This cathedral consists of the main church, five small churches (including a church built entirely of natural stone, a stone church), a bell tower, ponds, and three artificial caves.
As Phat Diem cathedral is a subtle combination of Western church architecture and traditional Eastern architecture, it’s a symbol of the convergence between the Catholic Church and the traditional belief of the Vietnamese people.
7. Trek at Cuc Phuong National Park
Located 45 km Northwest of Ninh Binh city, Cuc Phuong national park makes a great day trip from Ninh Binh.
Cuc Phuong is characterized as a tropical rainforest with diverse fauna and flora. Visiting Cuc Phuong, you can admire the ancient thousand-year tree, beautiful birds, and different species.
The best time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park is during the dry season (from December to May) when the weather in the forest is cold.
You should avoid going in the rainy season as it will affect the experience due to the slippy roads with many mosquitoes and squirrels.
Read more:Cuc Phuong national park travel guide.
8. Watch birds at Thung Nham bird field
Thung Nham is one of the most famous places to visit in Ninh Binh.
With an area of more than 300 hectares, Thung Nham has been rehabilitated as a general ecological area: fishing area, hiking, wildlife tours, primitive forest, caves, and especially the wild bird park.
Thung Nham bird field is a living space for many birds, such as storks, bitterns, etc. The surrounding limestone mountains with the flock of birds create a peaceful scene.
How to get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi
Alternatively, you can join one-day tours from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. Some recommended tours are:
3G/ 4G Wifi
Although you can access Wifi in public places, having 4G data will help your trip to Vietnam easier. You can buy a 4G SIM card (pick it up at Hanoi airport).